English Wikipedia today cites 4 India related headlines out of 8.

Published in: on October 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mathemagical Steam

[From the archives of a quiz conducted at Engineer 2007, NITK]

A quiz about History of Mathematics & Men of Mathematics– by SatyaVrat, Nanga Fakir, Nitesh Kumar. Answers are invited in the comment section.

1. We’ll start off with an easy one: Highly respected card and tricks magician, one of the greatest recreational mathematicians, known for his outspoken sceptic nature towards junk and pseudoscience, writer of very famous long running columns in Scientific American, whose anagram is the title of this quiz. Identify the name of column and the mathematician. (No marks for column identification only).

2. Many regard Gauss as the greatest mathematician of all times, but Gauss maintained these three as the greatest- Newton, Archimedes, and _________ (a relatively unfamiliar name, recognised for his work in Abstract Algebra).

3. X= (1-Δ.s)+ Δ.Tx is the equation that is the core of perhaps the most ubiquitous algorithm today. It will not be an exaggeration to say that most of us eat, live and breathe this algorithm. What is it?

4. This great mathematician, who did brilliant work in logic & theoretical computer science, died a very unusual death, i.e. by eating an apple (that was cyanide coated). Can you name him?

5. Connect- UCLA Math Major/ Fred Savage/ ‘How I met your mother’/ “Percolation and Gibbs states multiplicity for ferromagnetic Ashkin– Teller models on Z.”

6. They say that even the greatest logician is after all an ordinary mortal. So there was this man, and amongst his delusions was the belief that unknown villains were trying to kill him by poisoning his food. For this reason, he would only eat his wife’s cooking, refusing to eat even his own; this, in particular, would cause him to starve to death after the death of his wife. Can you guess who are we talking about?

7. Studied particle physics in Cambridge, worked in CERN, author of widely acclaimed bestsellers related to mathematics, and is presently a popular TV/radio broadcaster in Britain. He has been popularizing science and mathematics and his book ______ is perhaps the only book ever about mathematics that grabbed the no. 1 bestseller spot in UK. Also awarded the prestigious Order of the British Empire and sports a Mohican haircut. Identify the guy.

8. “… suddenly, totally unexpectedly, I had this incredible revelation. It was the most important moment of my working life. Nothing I ever do again will mean as much … it was so indescribably beautiful, it was so simple and so elegant, and I just stared in disbelief for twenty minutes, then during the day I walked round the department. I’d keep coming back to my desk to see it was still there – it was still there.”
Identify the speaker & put funda.


Widely regarded as Einstein’s successor in the role of greatest living physicist, he is also a brilliant mathematician & is called the father of modern string theory; works at Institute of Advanced Institutes, Princeton. You could have spotted him in the series ‘The Elegant Universe’. Identify.


Born in Kanpur, he did PhD under Paul Dirac, fellow of Institute of Advanced Institutes, Princeton, an IBM-von Neumann Prof. there, FRS. A famous Indian institute is named after him in Allahabad. Can you guess who is he?

11. Although one of finest pure mathematician of century, got recognition for very applied field. Invented board game Hex, said to be a sexual fanatic and gay (part time gay, we mean!). His biography is considered to be one of the finest ever written. Identify.

12. American president Garfield one of the few American Presidents who was assassinated, gave an alternative proof of this famous theorem. Can you guess what theorem are we talking about?

13. This movie is said to be inspired by the life of Ramanujan, the screenwriter admitted in an interview. He subsequently picked up the Oscar for best screenplay. Name the movie.

14. This man, when on an evening walk with his wife, suddenly got struck with a thought and fearing that he might lose this, wrote a few equations on a bridge nearby. Later this formed groundwork for one of the most far reaching mathematical discovery. Who was the man, and what did he write?

15. A renowned Indian professor, known for his contribution for a famous Number theory algorithm, considered by many to the only revolutionary work to have come out of India in the recent past, was awarded Clay Maths Award recently. Name him.

16. One of greatest mathematician of 20th century, his name resembles with another (even greater) mathematician. Largely worked in solitudes/prison, did pioneering work in algebraic geometry and number theory. Spent 2 years at Aligarh Muslim University in 1930, was keen in Sanskrit literature. Any guess?

17. Connect- A.I./ Stephen Hawking/______ Tilings/ Chess Grandmaster/ Knighthood.

18. Ralph Alpher, Hans Bethe and ______ were regarded as the α, β, γ of theoretical physics in mid 20th century. γ is also known for a cult book on popular science and was awarded the “Kalinga” Prize for popularization of Science by the UN. Who is γ and name the book?

19. FRS, Padma Vibushan, outspoken Brahmo Samaj follower, he did pioneering work on anthropometric variations and large scale sample surveys. He also laid the ground works for one of the most renowned Institutes for original research in India and was also a good friend of Meghnad Saha and Satyendra Nath Bose. What Institute was set up by this guy?

20. Some people are mathematicians, some are actors, and a few are both! Well, there has evolved a ranking system to measure the greatness of these guys, in terms of a natural number-the lesser the number, the greater the guy is. What is this number called?

21. 6174 is X number, 9999 is X constant. X is the name of an Indian number theorist. Identify.

22. “Physics, as we know it, will end in six months.” Well, we all know how false has this statement, said in the beginning of this century been. But no offense to this great theoretical physicist who would get so swayed away by his then fundamental breakthrough as to utter it. Who is the guy who said this and was proved completely wrong?

23. There is a game in which you have to choose between 3 identical doors, behind one of which is a grand prize, and others contain nothing. Once you have chosen a door, the host open one of the remaining doors, behind which he knows is nothing. Then, he asks you if you would stick to your door, or would you rather swap. What would be your best strategy? Put funda. And can you tell the name of this famous problem?

24. The fiction book written by this 19th century writer, who is well famous even today, became so popular that the Queen of England asked him to present the first copy of his next book exclusively to her. Although her order was followed, but, to the bewilderment of the queen, the next book was titled-‘A Synopsis of Algebraic & Transcendental Equations’. Can you name the guy?


यथा शिखा मयूराणाम नागानां मणयो यथा |

तथा वेदांगशास्त्राणाम गणितं मूर्धिन स्थितं ||

(As are the crests on the heads of peacocks, as are the gems on hoods of cobras; so is mathematics at the top of all sciences.)
Name the source (Hint: An ancient Indian scripture).

PhD Resolutions

From the blog of a student researcher at IISc.

See here.

The first LHC smashdown

India’s contribution to the LHC hype. Reportedly,

A girl in India has committed suicide after watching TV reports that a physics experiment could bring about the end of the world, her family says.

See here. I can only wish that the poor girl had read my last post, and then she would have known that even if her convincement (or the convincement spoon fed by Indian media) were true, its best to die the LHC way!

Anurag Kashyap’s First

An accidental find, this film was made for Television in 1998. It is also one of Kay Kay’s firsts.

It is called Last Train to Mahakali.

[Nivedita Bhattacharya, the lady reporter in the movie, is actually Kay Kay’s wife.]

Wrong Reasons

One professor suddenly commented in the middle of the class-

“Your English can be said to be state of the art. We all must certainly look up to you.”

What could I have said except, “I just had a little practice back home.”

Well, that was not the first time people have praised me for all wrong reasons. Sigh.


… at least he got his second sentence right 😉

Published in: on May 29, 2008 at 6:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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Sureshot way to kiss a lady!

Before you think its another tip on how to hit on women, let me claim that it most assuredly is, although a foolproof one. All you’d need after reading this short post is, well, a lady. So, here we go…

Get a lady for whom you are a non- total stranger, and whose IQ is greater than 80 (and below 160). Catch her in a non gloomy/non- too busy mood. Start some conversation with her, orient it slowly to academics, or some geeky thing. And then, with the most casual look, tell her this-

“Well, would you do me a favor? I will make a small statement. All you have to do is if the statement is true, you give me your autograph, and if its false, you don’t give me your autograph.”

The lady now begins to think. All she’d need to do is give a damn autograph. Sounds easy. Interrupt her if she takes too much time.

“C’mon. I have not yet said anything, and you are already thinking.”

She will give a green signal.

“So let me remind. A true statement means an autograph and a false means no autograph. Deal?”

She nods.

“All right. So listen carefully. The statement I make is- ‘You will give me neither an autograph nor a kiss’. Thats it. Think and act now. And don’t you be a deal breaker.”

Now quickly step back a little and get out of her line of vision. Let her think.

One of the two things will happen within a minute, either she will smile back with a pleasant sensation on her face. Proceed to her then with literally your tongue in cheek- you are done. Or, she might look badly puzzled. Help her out, Einstein-

“Ma’am, suppose you think the statement is true. Then you’d have to give me your autograph. But then ‘you’ll give neither your autograph…’ thing can’t be true, right? Hence, the statement should be false. So, you will give me either your autograph or a kiss. But because the statement I made is false, I can’t take your autograph. That leaves only one option…”

Join her when she laughs. Happy ending 🙂

Well, I concede that she might just refuse to be sporty and refuse to go for the kiss. Invite her then for a Double-or-Nothing. On moral grounds she is bound to accept. Contact me for the next courageous hit 😉

This was a real life act successfully played by Raymond Smullyan. Whats more interesting is that the lady he kissed eventually became his wife!

Your logic can never fail you.


“How’ve you been man?”

“Prima, ‘nd you?”

“Yeah, fine.”
“Any mindfuck?”

“Heh, not here dude!”

“Ah, ok. Sorry.”

“So, the winter is over.”


“Ah, no. Not yet.”
“Or I dunno! Whatever.”

“It’s been quite some time now.”

“Well, I hope it’s timely!”

“Heh, ……….”


“Ok, fuck it. You must know I was worried. How ‘d fuck have things been man?”

“Umm, nonlinear.”

Published in: on April 17, 2008 at 10:24 pm  Comments (5)  


From Cectic, 5th December ’07-



Published in: on December 8, 2007 at 10:20 am  Comments (2)  
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I am 16, Going on 17, दिल क्यों न धक-धक करे

  1. “Of course”
  2. “Yes. Yes”
  3. “Yes, but”
  4. “But, you see”
  5. “Umm”
  6. “Tell you what”
  7. “Listen”
  8. “Wait a minute”
  9. “Come on”
  10. “Why don’t you”
  11. “Hell what”
  12. “Cut it”
  13. “Will you please”
  14. “Enough”
  15. “What the hell”
  16. “SOAB”
  17. “Fuck off”
Published in: on November 25, 2007 at 8:16 am  Leave a Comment  

I AMsterdam

Amsterdam truly is the city of lust. Believe me, it truly is, even for a desi guy.

For more information, check this out

But don’t leave until you check this.

Published in: on October 21, 2007 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

‘The Blue Umbrella’- a great event in Indian Cinema

Glimpse of the meaninglessness of the fuss about Existence- I would call it.

It irritates you, at least it irritated me- for it makes all your problems look like a joke to you. It simplifies the equations, at the same time not compromising with the rigour. And the greatness lies in the setting, the screenplay, the songs, the music. The simplicities here are actually anti-subtleties. The movie plays like a fantasy, and it reveals like a hidden treasure. It is indeed a movie about existence. And if you see it at night for the third time, it comes in your dream and whispers gently- Hush, my baby, don’t you cry.

It surely retained all the innocence of the wonderful story by Ruskin Bond, which goes by the same name.

Pankaj Kapur has earned enough पुन्य for him and Shahid Kapoor to attain मोक्ष. And I have no words for Vishal Bhardwaj.

Indian Cinema

I am pretty much convinced by now that the west is in no way capable of doing any justice to critically understand Indian Cinema. The whole idea is so different.

I will attempt to throw more light on the ‘difference’ in my later posts. As of now, you can check here.

Published in: on October 21, 2007 at 6:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Definition of a ‘Desi’

You are a Desi if you fulfill most of these-

  • You unwrap gifts very carefully, so you can save and reuse the wrapping next year.
  • You only buy Diwali cards after Diwali, when they are 50% off.
  • You tape cards on the wall.
  • You use the dishwasher as a dish rack.
  • You eat all meals in the kitchen.
  • You use grocery bags to hold garbage.
  • You leave your shoes at the door.
  • You have a collection of shampoo sachet.
  • You never order stuff online.
  • You own a rice cooker or a pressure cooker.
  • You wash your rice 2-3 times before cooking it.
  • You curse yourself for buying a ticket if nobody checks it.
  • You reuse teabags.
  • You have a drawer full of old pens, most of which don’t write anymore.
  • Your parents never go to the movies.
  • Your parents are never happy with your grades.
  • You use coke cans/ refined oil containers/ paint or distemper boxes in toilets.
  • You keep used batteries, and keep checking them time & again if they work.
  • You keep most of your money in a savings account.
  • You address an older person you never met before as ‘uncle’.
  • No one you’re related to is a music major.
  • Your parents don’t realize phone connections to foreign countries have improved in the last two decades, and still scream at the top of their lungs.
  • You cook in bulk.
  • You never give a tip.
  • Your can’t resist spitting on the sidewalk.
  • You use Vicks/ Painjon/ Amrutanjan.
  • You’ve been in a bus where half the people riding are outside the bus.
  • Experiencing 20 power blackouts in a single day doesn’t faze you.
  • You pronounce ‘very’ in the same way as ‘wary’.
  • You spew forth the virtues of India, but don’t want to live there.
  • You can never dream of actually buying a software.
  • You majored in engineering or medicine.

[inspired by a group on Facebook]

Published in: on October 21, 2007 at 5:52 am  Comments (2)